As a young boy, David Sibley often explored the outdoors with his father. He recalls turning over logs to look for mole crickets, identifying plants, and watching for birds. We asked David for ways to encourage children to connect with nature: “My advice to other parents is just to get outdoors,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be about birding. Just go outside and get caught in a rainstorm and get that real first-hand experience with weather!”
David Sibley is the creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, one of the most widely used field guides in North America.
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“Thanks for Making Us Play Outside!”
An Interview with David Sibley
Interviewed and Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Northeast forest habitat with Wood Thrush and Northern Cardinal]
It’s time to go out and enjoy the great outdoors! Experience nature! Explore! Tell your stories!
David Sibley certainly has! He’s the creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, one of the most widely used field guides.
[Song of Northern Cardinal]
As a boy, he often explored the outdoors with his father. These weren’t birding trips, but rather, “nature hikes” – with someone running ahead to turn over logs and look for mole crickets, identify plants, and watch for birds flying by.
[Sounds of children outside in nature if not raucous]
We asked David for ways to encourage children to connect with nature:
“My advice to other parents is just to get outdoors! It doesn’t have to be about birding. Just go outside and get caught in a rainstorm and get that real first-hand experience with weather! That’s all part of it. Just being outdoors is really the key.” [Rain and children squealing]
“When I did the [Sibley] Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, the two editors of that book are friends of mine and we dedicated that book to all of our parents. One of the early versions of the dedication, that didn’t make it into the book, unfortunately, was “Thanks to our parents for making us play outside!”
Our story continues online – at birdnote.org
[Song of Northern Cardinal]
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Songs and calls of Northern Cardinal and Wood Thrush  recorded by W.L. Hershberger; song of Northern Cardinal  recorded by G.F. Budney.
Kids in nature recorded by C. Peterson.
Moderate rain Nature Essentials SFX #12 recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org July 2014 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# sibleyd-02-2014-07-29sibleyd-02 Sibley interview 23:30 and 24:13